Possible face-down restraint ban

Ministers are considering banning the use of face-down restraint on mental health patients in England after official figures revealed nearly 40,000 incidents of physical restraint in a year - with more than 3,000 in the "dangerous" face-down position

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Patient restraint data revealed

Data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act showed 39,883 recorded incidents of all kinds of physical restraint in mental health trusts during 2011/12:

  • Surrey and Borders NHS Foundation Trust reported just 38 incidents over the year while Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust reported 3,346.
  • Figures for overall physical restraint incidents, including face-down incidents, were compiled from answers provided by 51 mental trusts.
  • More than half of the responding trusts, or 27, said 3,439 of the incidents were of face-down restraint, a potentially life-threatening form of restraint.
  • Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust recorded 923 incidents of face-down restraint and Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust 810,
  • A separate survey of 375 frontline healthcare staff involved, showed almost a quarter, 22%, had not had face-to-face training on physical restraint techniques.
  • More than four in ten, or 42% said that with hindsight, they felt that restraint.

Source: Mind

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